The Gift of the Elm

From Death to Life: The Gift of the Elm 2

40”H x 30”W x 1.5”D   |   Acrylic, elm bark and mixed media with resin on wood panel

This painting is held in a private collection.

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I had the good fortune to receive the gift of a large supply of elm bark from a friend with whom I was staying in Haliburton, Ontario. The bark came from a very large, old elm tree that had to be taken down because it had been stricken with Dutch Elm disease. A century ago, much of North America was filled with large stands of elm trees which provided shade, comfort and nesting homes for all kinds of wildlife.

I use the bark of the dead elm tree as a metaphor for the act of the dead tree giving back to life, allowing others to thrive and flourish, including the elm beetle itself. The addition of the rose window stencil to the intertwining branches of the elm tree suggest the structure and beauty of a gothic cathedral, a spiritual home. Flourishing is the quality of living one’s gift of life to the full, in acceptance of the reality of its own mortality.

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